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When it comes to marketing, national food holidays and restaurants are the perfect match. Every year, there are hundreds of national food holidays that encourage people across the country to band together and share affection for everything from tater tots (February 2) to tacos (October 4).
These famously celebratory days are a fantastic opportunity to reach out to new customers while also re-engaging with the people who may be familiar with your restaurant but haven’t visited or ordered take-out in awhile.
Seasonal marketing matters
One thing that’s certain is that our world is constantly changing. People’s lives, technology, food ingredients, trends and diner behaviors are forever evolving. And although a business plan may seem constant, restaurants should never forget about their diners’ current reality when it comes to marketing.
That’s why the best chance restaurants will get to be relevant year-round is to connect with their customers in real-time through real-life happenings – like national food holidays. Use our top marketing tips for restaurants and free calendar download to help you create entertaining and eye-catching promotions that build your brand and boost your revenue.
How to use the top National Food Holidays of 2023 for your restaurant marketing strategy
To make your national food holiday promos as effective as possible, tie them into a larger restaurant marketing strategy that looks at the big picture, not just a single opportunity. A restaurant marketing strategy is a formal plan that documents, tracks and analyzes all your marketing efforts and activities.
Use these simple steps to help you implement national food holidays into your marketing strategy today:
Find the food holidays that fit
Incorporating national food holidays into your marketing strategy is a huge opportunity for growth and engagement, but it can also damage your brand if you aren’t careful about which holidays you choose. Every holiday you opt to promote should fit not only your brand but your menu.
For example, it doesn’t make much sense to launch a huge National Hot Dog Day campaign (July 23) if your menu serves classic French cuisine. Start with your own concept and see which food holidays feel like an authentic fit.
Pick your promotion
Food holidays are prime time for freebies and discounts. Nothing motivates a diner to press ‘order now’ more than a discount.
Some offers you may consider running during a national food holiday include:
- Free menu item: Allow customers to redeem a specific free item with their purchase, such as a free chocolate chip cookie (May 16) with every entree
- Free menu selection: Highlight a specific area of your menu, perhaps discounting all your salads for National Kale Day (October 5)
- Dollar-off: Offer a fixed amount of money off for new customers during a national food holiday, giving $1 off everything with fries in honor of National French Fry Day (July 13)
- Percentage off: Choose a fixed percentage off orders during a national holiday, like advertising 20% off all caffeinated drinks on National Coffee Day (September 29)
- Free delivery: If your restaurant offers self-delivery, you can food the bill for all delivery fees during a national holiday, like on National Dessert Day (October 14)
Spread the word
It’s important to use all the channels available to share your national food holiday promotions. When your restaurant joins Grubhub Marketplace, you get immediate access to powerful marketing and promotional tools to help maximize your sharing and build a loyal fan base.
Social media is also a powerful tool for restaurant owners because it’s immediate. It’s direct and it costs as little or as much as you want. Use organic posts like behind-the-scenes photos to gain traction or use some of your marketing budget to take advantage of paid advertising on platforms like Facebook, TikTok and Instagram.
Remember, the goal is to find ways to build brand awareness, attract new customers, expand your market and nurture customer loyalty.
4 social media post ideas to promote your 2023 national food holiday campaigns
The key to being successful on social media is making sure you have a presence. In fact, 45% of diners have tried a restaurant because of social media. Creating an eye-catching social media presence can turn curious social media scrollers into satisfied customers.
Here are some ideas on how you can start sharing your national food holiday deals in a smart way that boosts engagement and gets your restaurant noticed.
1. Run a social media contest
People love to win stuff. Even if they don’t come out on top, studies show that consumers are more likely to engage with a post if that post is promoting some kind of contest. Contests convert at a rate 3.7% higher than posts with other non-costest CTAs.
Instagram contests are similarly popular, with contest-related posts getting more than triple the likes and 64 times more comments than other types of posts. That’s a major engagement.
Big Idea: Take advantage by running contests that encourage interaction, such as asking food trivia questions and counting each commented answer as an entry, requiring users to like and share your post to win, or asking followers to tag a friend in your post as part of their entry.
2. Use trending hashtags
Because national food holidays are a coast-to-coast affair, there are often trending hashtags you can use to ride the wave of popularity and get your restaurant into the national spotlight. Hashtags allow your posts to enter different categories online, bringing your restaurant into people’s social media feeds.
Big Idea: Along with using the obvious national food day hashtags like #NationalMargaritaDay, make sure to also incorporate your restaurant’s city-specific hashtags like #EatAustin, #ChicagoFoodAuthority of #NYCEats. Using these will allow you to tap into the already-there audience you’re looking for.
3. Promote your online ordering site
Most promotions work best when you remove any possible hurdles that stand between your customer and the order button. In the world of online ordering, that means making it as easy as possible for diners to find your menu, put their food in their virtual card, and pay up.
When you share your promotional posts on social media, offering customers the ability to order directly from you can help you drive more sales through your national food holiday campaigns.
Don’t have the ability to take online orders? Grubhub can help! Direct is a commission-free platform designed to help you reach loyal diners and build your online brand. With Direct, you can drive customers to your very own online ordering website, customized just for your restaurant. Read all about how Brooklyn-based Broccolini did just this and more.
Big Idea: Include links to your online ordering site on your social media pages so that you can convert curious scrollers into customers. Make sure you highlight your online ordering site in your captions so that it’s clear how diners can place an order.
4. Highlight your cuisine
Your food is your pride and joy and what keeps customers coming back for seconds. Making your cuisine the prime feature of your social media profile not only shows off your speciality, but also gets diners’ mouths watering. Nothing gets a diner more motivated to place an order than a juicy photo of a rack of ribs on National Barbecue Day (May 16).
Taking and featuring high quality photos of your food is essential to creating an effective social media presence. When you partner with Grubhub, you can schedule a free photoshoot for your restaurant.
Partnering with micro influencers can help your restaurant get more exposure. Encourage those who visit your restaurant to post photos of their food online. Delectable food pics can stand out in people’s feeds.
Big idea: Make sure to feature high quality photos of the dishes you are preparing for national food holidays. You can even give a behind the scenes look into your chefs’ meal prep. Post these photos onto your restaurant’s social media to appeal to diners’ taste buds.
Start your restaurant’s celebration today
The best thing you can do when using national food holidays to promote your restaurant is to create a solid plan. That way, you’re ready and prepared to give your diners the best reason to indulge in your delicious food – daily!
Lucky for you, we’ve already done step one for you. We’ve compiled all the national food holidays in one place and created a complete calendar listing and it’s available to you for FREE to download now.
Use your new calendar to create a new marketing plan or amplify your existing one, and national food holidays could be your next step toward increased sales and a wealth of new customers.
Already eager to get ready for your next national food holiday promotion? Sign up with Grubhub for Restaurant to access powerful promotion and loyalty tools today!